Impact of powerful tools for organizational and community learning shared in a rare capacity development forum
Ten (10) APODEA (Association for Practicing OD in East Africa) Tanzania chapter members met in Arusha, on 26th November 2013. When asked how he felt about this first Chapter meeting, Mr. Augustine Mwaimu, who is a co-convener of the chapter responded: “Thrilled—this is a day of Jubilation”. Why? One may ask. A number of reasons contributed to that excitement, not least because the Tanzania chapter always felt rather embarrassed whenever Uganda or Kenya chapters reported yet another vibrant meeting. Other reasons for excitement were experienced in the course of the meeting itself, including:
- The briefing about APODEA as an association and testimonies from Uganda chapter, shared by Mwesigye Kwarimpa-Atim
- The sharing of important practice issues from recent capacity development experiences by HAKI MADINI and EASUN
Transformational practices in capacity development
A sharing moment on practice issues highlighted the power of Alternative Language Channels (ALC) as a capacity building tool that generates great insights, responsibility-taking and commitment to cause and shared purpose. HAKI MADINI shared its experiences from a training workshop for small scale women miners in Tanzania, which was facilitated by its own OD practitioners trained by EASUN in 2012/13. At the end of a particular intervention through ALC, a woman miner with little formal education stood up and declared her new awareness that many deaths in the country are caused by corrupt government officials at various levels. This was triggered by a role-play about a particular ruling that failed to do justice to a 14 year old girl who was raped by her own teacher in a village school context.
Relevant skills training highlighted
EASUN highlighted the successful use of ALC in module two of its new FOLD (Facilitating Organizational Learning and Development) training held in November 2013, where story-telling enabled participants to surface their sources of motivation and commitment
to networks and movements that they are part of. Said one FOLD participants: “Story telling enabled us to understand the development stages through which colleagues encountered the ‘turning points’ that influenced their current membership in movements for social development.” Others expressed feelings of increased confidence as illustrated by a participant who shared his experience of the story–telling as follows: “I felt emotional when the feedback began to sound like an outpouring of empathy toward me, i.e., others could see and affirm me in relation to what I secretly know that I am struggling with. If I was not an old man I would have cried.”
What EASUN shared above reflects the use of ALC as a learning approach at the heart of its training methodology in the revamped FOLD training. This is going to be particularly instrumental in equipping networks and movements with the capacity to leverage competencies and commitment of their diverse individual and institutional members working to defend citizen’s rights at various levels. The use of ALC in facilitating learning is also instrumental in creating new awareness. A number of FOLD course participants in the November module noted how they were enabled to see the need for strengthening the sense of values in order to create and sustain shared purpose for their networks to function effectively and add maximum possible value through their the advocacy work.
The Tanzania chapter meeting generated a great sense of optimism. The Moshi-Arusha zone of the chapter committed to meeting once every month for the next 6 months. The next gathering will be in Moshi on 11th January 2014. The meeting also considered it feasible to manage its sustainability by encouraging members to contribute small amounts of money each time a meeting is held. Another issue that excited chapter members is the fact that 2 out of the ten participants (20%) were non-FOD graduates who, after the sharing, expressed a strong commitment to attend FOLD training.